Up-Anchor, Anchors Aweigh, etc.

A few weeks ago, I almost threw away $150. I tried to use my Garmin Vivosmart. Unfortunately, the display was just a tiny, illegible line down the middle. I contacted Garmin, and they sent me this for free! (It’s a $150 value.)

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My new Garmin Vivosmart HR

I’ve been using it for a little over two weeks, and I’m impressed. I like the bigger display, and it’s nice to have the option of checking my heart rate. The heart rate monitor seems to be more effective when I track an activity, so I’m not sure if my resting heart rate is actually 71 or if it’s trying to make me feel better about myself.

We’ve had a some very serious challenges in the last couple of months, so I’m hanging on to every glimmer of hope and joy I can (even something as trivial as a Garmin). Any time I feel like I’m getting a handle on my weight, life hits me with something that sends me spiraling.

This gives me the perfect chance to put into practice that anchor habit. For me, it’s putting boundaries on sugar. Let’s just say that my anchor has not been in the water for a while. As of this moment, I am resetting myself and starting to limit sugar to times that I’m spending time with people. I’m hoping that with more repetition, I’ll cut back on the time it takes me to get back to it when things get crazy. Time to toss that anchor back in.

 

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Why daily means daily…until it doesn’t

I have some non-negotiable daily tasks/habits. They’re pre-made decisions that help me avoid bailing on things that I know are good for me. For instance, when I was working on my housekeeping skills, I did the dishes every day (usually twice, since we had 6 people in our house at the time). Now that I have the habit down pretty well, I can sometimes skip a day without dire consequences. I also have a reliable plan for where to start if our house is in shambles. (For more on cleaning and decluttering, check out this blog.)

I’m discovering that one of my issues with eating and exercise habits is that I don’t have a solid place to start when things go wrong (and, believe me, they do). I rotate through different ideas and strategies so much that I have no anchor habit like I do with cleaning my house. So, I’m starting one.

I’m picking something with clear boundaries (because I need them) that doesn’t need a tracking system. I want it to be so ingrained in my mind that I don’t need a checklist. Don’t get me wrong. I like lists. Sometimes, I just need to give it a rest, though.

What the anchor habit is doesn’t necessarily matter as much to me as it’s purpose. Washing dishes every day naturally reminds me at this point to think about things like wiping down counters and sweeping. Seeing results helps me to keep going.

So, I’m not going to say what my anchor habit is quite yet. When I start seeing other ways it’s affecting my health habits or when I mess up and start again there, I’ll let you know.

The Quiet Changes

It’s been two months since my last post. My two-year anniversary of the beginning of my weight loss journey has come and gone, and it’s a new year. During that time, I’ve gone from tracking my food like crazy without losing weight to my current state of stillness.

I thought about letting my blog fall to the wayside and add to the giant pile of abandoned weight loss blogs and be on my way of weight gain and denial. Instead, I’m going to try keeping it simple. No more waiting to have a good picture of topic for my post. No more waiting for the best moment to write. Those quiet moments are rare and probably best used on other things.

So, here I go, 2017. I start the year without any fanfare or big declarations. My only health resolution is to make my health somewhere on my list of priorities. I’m a bit tired of striving for a goal and never reaching it. I know losing weight will help me, but I can’t handle making it such a huge part of my life.

For now, I’m hoping to minimize pain and be more functional. Now, I just need to work on how to make that happen. It won’t be exciting. Instead, I’m hoping for quiet changes that make up a tiny piece of the puzzle that is my life.

Weight! Don’t do it!

1028160536This is the number I saw the morning after we got back from our vacation. I intentionally went against all good logic and advice of waiting until after things return to normal to weigh myself. I wanted to watch the daily ups and downs as my body realized I was no longer going to eat whatever I happened to feel like or be around at the moment (this is also NOT prescriptive, but I have to be honest with you about how my trip went).

Armed with my inflated weight of about 250, I had my annual physical yesterday. Just as a side note, I feel I’ve achieved mature adulthood because I actually have these every year now. I also met one of my goals for 2106 by getting my blood work done. I’ll be interested to see the results.

When it comes to my weight, I feel like I’ve been stuck on the second week of the Biggest Loser. You know what I mean. The one where everyone is excited because they lost 20 pounds the week before and are shocked to see that they only lost 5 (or 1 or gained a pound). Then, after a few seasons, we would all roll our eyes and ask if the contestants had ever watched the show.

While my weight is about the same as my last physical, I am happy to report a lower resting pulse of 73. For those playing along at home, that’s average on all the charts I’ve seen. That’s right folks: Average! Seriously, this is a big deal for someone who has a long record of failed fitness tests. Click the chart to go to the website for info for both men and women, but ignore the unsettling article.

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I had a blood pressure of 125/81. This is also an improvement, even if it still is on the pre-hypertension side of things. All in all, it was an encouraging doctor visit. Perhaps, my week 3…I mean, year 3 will come with more wins on the scale.

Feeling Weighed Down

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As promised, I’m here to share this morning’s weigh-in. I’ve also decided that any weigh-in post really needs to have “weigh” in the title, so be prepared to enjoy my cleverness until I run out of ideas.

I’m at either 246 or 249, depending on whether you believe the first or second time I weighed myself. I’m officially going with 249. I’m honestly feeling a bit embarrassed to share this, since this means I’ve gained about 15 pounds since mid-July. The good news is that some of this is as a result of a certain almost-7-year-old’s birthday treats. Going back to my normal eating will take away a few of these pounds pretty quickly.

I woke up this morning with a sore throat that I think is from my acid reflux. I have been feeling a bit blah lately, which means it’s even more important that I get some healthy habits in place asap.

I attempted to limit myself to one acid reflux/IBS trigger food this past week. Since caffeine is on that list, this involved singing to myself in the car about keeping my eyes open on the way to work multiple days in a row. I had 1/4 cup of coffee mixed with hot water and creamer a couple of times, and then there were the birthday treats. So, I had one…plus eight or so. I felt guilty about it, and then I felt guilty about feeling guilty since I know I shouldn’t. Oh, boy.

So, my next step is trying another week with one trigger food. Also, I signed up for a fun run with the kiddo for Friday, and it sounds like we might practice once or twice before that. I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

There’s something about August…

August Challenge

Apparently, August is the month for challenges. Last year, I did a month long physical activity challenge where I did 10 minutes each day. Now, I’m in the middle of a step challenge with my weight loss accountability group.

It’s pretty simple. We just track our steps using an activity tracker, pedometer, or phone app and then report how many steps we’ve taken each week to see who gets the most steps. I keep falling just short of my goal of 40,000 steps for the week, and that’s not the only area where I’m falling short.

I’m in an eating slump. While most of the summer has been a refreshing change from previous food obsessions, I’m starting to see myself reverting back to some bad habits. Habits like eating chocolate right out of the freezer and eating a thousand snacks a day. It’s taking a toll on me, too. I haven’t been at this for too long, and I’m already feeling sluggish and have that familiar burning sensation in my esophagus.

So, what am I going to do now that I realize I’m messing up? Well, for one, I’m not going to freak out. I’ve been down this road before, and I’ve lived to tell about it. Two weeks of bad choices is not going to ruin two years of effort.

tomatoNext, I’m going to start heading back in the direction of the habits that have helped me: drinking lots of water, eating lots of protein and veggies, and trying to move…any kind of moving is good at this point. Volleyball is a casualty of our full schedule due to training, paperwork, and home studies to adopt from foster care (here’s an article about some ways to avoid weight gain during the adoption process). My gardening hobby made a dramatic exit somewhere around the middle of July when I went out of town and never got back into the routine. At least my three beautiful tomato plants were spared in the latest excitement of a tree falling in my yard during as a tornado went through my neighborhood.

 

It’ll take time to ramp up, but that’s okay. I’m just glad I am working on things before I gain all the weight back and more.

Yoga Workout for Non-Yoga People

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Until my fitness class at church back in March, I had not pulled out my yoga mat in ages. Not only is yoga out of my realm of expertise, but I also avoid floor ab exercises at all costs due to back issues. When we got to yoga week, though, I was pleasantly surprised by a realistic workout that my muscles appreciated (just as a side note, I’m not into the meditation side of things that sometimes accompanies yoga, but I could definitely benefit from the balance and flexibility).

The source of this workout was Real Simple‘s website of all places. I’ve found other workouts on their website too, including an exercise band workout that I did while traveling last summer. There are several 15 minute workouts on there for those of us who would rather not spend hours at the gym, plus they have clear instructions with pictures.

Volleyball Training Program

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I always know that it’s going to be a good blog post when I’m crying when I write it. This is not one of those posts. Don’t get me wrong, I love volleyball. However, it’s not really a deep subject.

When I was younger, my primary concerns in the off season were to practice my skills and maintain conditioning. Things have gotten a little more complicated these days. Some of the most important joints in volleyball are trouble spots for me now. My right rotator cuff is partially torn (not painful, though, since I’ve gone through physical therapy). My left shoulder now hurts in a similar way to how my right shoulder used to feel. My back and hip fluctuate between various degrees of pain. I could go on.

With all of this in mind, I need to figure out the best way to get ready for next season. Here are my thoughts.

  • I could use some sprints. The faster I can get to the ball, the less I have to throw myself on the ground.
  • It’s probably smart for me to start doing my physical therapy exercise on my left shoulder to see if that helps.
  • My back and hip tend to feel best when I’m doing strength training like kettlebells and deadlifts. The issue is that those types of exercise also tend to lead to shoulder pain eventually. So, I need to implement lower body strength training that doesn’t involve my shoulders. Squats, perhaps (although, those sometimes hurt my knees…sigh).

 

 

Under the Sun

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Someone at work mentioned that I was tan today. I would call that an interesting definition of the color that has appeared on my face:

 

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I’m loving the warm weather. Spending time out in the sun has given me a lot of opportunities to be active. I’ve been rediscovering things that I loved when I was younger. I’ve been reading more (it’s perfect reading on the porch weather!), feeding a neighbor cat (a “pet” without obligations), and playing in the dirt (aka gardening).

There’s nothing new under the sun, including sunburns. I get them so easily. You’d think I’d learn to wear sunscreen at some point. I guess this is the year of being a grown up, so I better go buy some. Here are some things that have been keeping me busy lately.

 

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Working in the garden

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Soccer all morning on Saturday

TV and Me

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My most-watched TV shows of all time are likely Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. People have mocked me for this. I don’t care. I’m not ashamed. I’m not 1,000 years old. I just like words and really hard trivia that even super smart people don’t always know. Other than that, I watch some ABC sitcoms and an occasional show on Netflix (things like Gilmore Girls, Switched at Birth, Chuck, iZombie, and Fixer Upper). According to one study, the average American watches around 5 hours of TV a day. I’m more of a 1-2 hours per day kind of girl.

Even though I don’t spend an unusual amount of time watching TV, I have a little bit of TV guilt sometimes. There was, for instance, the summer that I came home from work and watched Gilmore Girls until I went to bed every night. Also, I recall a time when  I couldn’t stop talking about how ridiculous the premise was for Switched at Birth until I finally watched it and couldn’t stop. I happen to also do this with games on my phone and podcasts. I have a problem. With the Netflix binge watching that’s all the rage these days, our nation as a whole has a TV problem.

So, how do we balance the desire to watch good (or even so-so) TV with our desire to watch our waistlines?  Well, sometimes I just need to sink into the couch and take a break. No matter what culture would have us believe, it’s okay to do something that isn’t super productive once in a while. Life is not about doing as much stuff as possible.

There is something to be said, though, about staying active as our bodies were meant to be. I sometimes get a little restless when I’m watching TV. I feel like I should be doing something more meaningful. Sometimes I ignore the feeling, Other times, I use the TV as a backdrop for my workout. I also will play Netflix on my phone while I’m cleaning the kitchen or use commercial breaks as a time to do a quick pickup in the living room and dining room.

Whether it’s watching in moderation, cutting TV out cold turkey, or just do a little multitasking, I think it’s important for us to be aware of entertainment habits and whether they are supporting our goals. On that note, I’m going to watch some iZombie. 🙂